Discount retailer Steve & Barry’s files bankruptcy

Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 2:27am
Steve & Barry's stores are still open but the company announced Wednesday it is seeking bankruptcy protection. File

Steve & Barry’s LLC, the discount seller of clothing lines by celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, sought protection from creditors, joining at least 10 U.S. retailers in bankruptcy this year as consumers cut spending.

The company, based in Port Washington, N.Y., listed $693.5 million in assets and $638 million in debt as of May 31 in documents filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The company said in a statement that it eliminated 172 jobs yesterday and plans to consolidate offices while seeking a sale to repay debt.

“The generally poor environment for apparel retailers has reduced funding to our suppliers, landlords, and to our company,” Steve Shore and Barry Prevor, founders and co-chief executive officers, said in the statement.

The childhood friends, who made silk-screened T-shirts and sold them for $1 each as teenagers in suburban New York, founded Steve & Barry’s in 1985, when they opened a clothing store at the University of Pennsylvania, according to the company’s Web site. The chain now sells lines including Parker’s Bitten, the Starbury Collection of athletic apparel by National Basketball Association player Stephon Marbury, and clothing based on CBS Corp. television shows, with items priced at less than $20.

Stores are open today, accepting gift cards and returns, Steve & Barry’s said. The company has 275 stores including one in Antioch’s Hickory Hollow Mall, according to its Web site.

A handful of other retailers with strong Middle Tennessee ties have also sought bankruptcy protection this year as credit becomes harder to obtain and consumers struggling with higher gasoline costs cut back on nonessential purchases.

Linens ‘n Things, the housewares retailer controlled by buyout firm Apollo Management LP; Sharper Image Corp., a gadget seller; Bombay Co., owner of home-furnishing stores; and Goody’s Family Clothing also sought bankruptcy protection.

— Bloomberg News

Filed under: City Business